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Title: International trade disputes in intellectual property : Taiwanese cases in the United States International Trade Commission
Author: Lo, Chih-Cheng
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2007
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Section 337 of the Tariff Act in the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) has been recognised as a mechanism for further strengthening patent protection and competitiveness of US firms (Aoki and Prusa, 1993; Mutti and Yeung 1996). Section 337 has an effective deterrent, the Exclusive Order, which prohibits the imports and lor distribution of imported products based on one or more patents held by US firms that have been infringed. Several studies have shown that there is a strategic motivation behind patent litigation (Lerner, 1995; Somaya, 2003; Harhoff and Reitzig, 2004; Lanjouw and Schankerman, 2004). However, a fuller understanding of how firms react to the enforcement environment has not been fully explored. After reviewing the relevant literature in highlighting the issue of cross-border patent litigation, the contribution of this thesis is to take the viewpoint of a foreign firm from a newly industrialised country to illustrate the issue of the strategic use of trade-relevant patent protection. With this in mind, the main research questions in this thesis are as follows: (1) What issues and interactions have taken place in the trade-relevant patent dispute between Taiwan and the US? (2) What patterns of cross-border patent dispute emerge from the USITC protection mechanism involving in Taiwanese firms? (3) What are the strategic responses of Taiwanese firms to defending a lawsuit in US jurisdiction? For the empirical part of the thesis, a patent litigation dataset was constructed with records extracted from the ITC investigation achieve and LEXIS-Nelson database; and descriptive statistics were computed to uncover the overall patterns of Taiwanese trade-relevant patent litigations and infringed patents. The findings illustrate sharply the characteristics of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) relevant products' competition between American and Taiwanese firms. This was particularly the case after the year 2000 as Taiwanese firms became involved in patent infringement cases as direct defendants rather than as a third party as occurred in the 1980s and 1990s. Specifically, half of the infringed patents in Section 337 investigation cases were located in the classifications of computer hardware and semiconductor devices. Further empirical studies to evaluate how Taiwanese firms respond to the risk of litigation and its various impacts reported is based on a research design that combined insights gained from interviews with in-depth case studies. Following an analysis of interviewee responses, potential impact of US patent disputes of two significant USITC investigations associated with Taiwanese firms were analysed using firm level performance data. The findings appear to support those from other empirical literature about the industry-specific importance of a patent. The case studies illustrate that the role of patent litigation is perceived as a strategic manipulation rather than a protection mechanism in leT industries. Finally, the finding casts doubt on the effectiveness of discriminatory regulation to protect patent rights in the US due to the distortionary effects caused by the strategic motivations of both complainant and defendant.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available